Newt Gingrich says while others on stage were bickering during Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate, he was trying to focus on what needs to be done to raise the nation out of its economic doldrums. The former House speaker also told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Wednesday the debates have become less issue-oriented and more like a “Hollywood game show” and ego forum.
“Some other guys were spending almost all evening bickering — I was trying to focus very directly on what does America need to do to solve its problems,” Gingrich said. “How do we get jobs created? How do we balance the budget? How do we get out of the mess we are in? And I also think that people are ready for, talking about a different approach.
“You know, these debates haven’t only been debates — it’s been almost like a Hollywood game show: You know some moderator asking questions, a minute here, 30-second rebuttal there — a lot of back-and-forth stuff,” he said.
Gingrich said it is important for the GOP hopefuls to keep their eyes on the prize, which is defeating President Barack Obama in 2012, and to limit the personal attacks against one another during debates.
“Well, look, Sean, you know, it’s very important for us to remember that the goal of this effort is to defeat Barack Obama and get America back on the right track — the goal of this entire project isn’t have one ego or one ambition over another and then go get beaten by the president because we have beaten each other up so much,” Gingrich said. “Once or twice last night, the level of intensity, particularly between Governors Perry and Romney got to be almost like seventh graders in a school yard.”
The former House speaker also said the bickering made “very uncomfortable” and people he has spoken with after the debate shared his opinion.
“I thought it hurt the entire Republican Party — I know I have talked to people here in Arizona this afternoon who just plain turned it off,” Gingrich said. “They said: ‘This is so negative and so petty — I am not going to watch it.’ Now, that’s bad for the conservative movement and it’s bad for the Republican Party.
“We ought to be able to set a higher standard than that,” he said. “Doesn't mean we can’t disagree — but we have to disagree based on the facts.”
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